Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST of Iowa) is a unique collaboration of local economic development groups working with Iowa’s utilities and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The group’s mission is to meet with Iowa companies to identify local economic trends, business needs and opportunities.
The 2020 BEST of Iowa key findings and conclusions identified trend information from more than 800 interviews completed by companies across 76 counties.
“Getting firsthand feedback from businesses across our state is critical to making sure we’re setting the stage for economic success,” said Drew Conrad, Director at the Institute for Decision Making, The University of Northern Iowa. “We realized early in 2020 that we needed to focus our efforts on the unique challenges of doing business in a pandemic. We know that this information will help leaders pinpoint how to best support the hardworking people of Iowa.”
BEST of Iowa honors communities that went above and beyond throughout the process. Albia Industrial Development Corporation, City of Ankeny, Buchanan County Economic Development and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance were honored with the 2020 BEST of Iowa Excellence Award.
The Albia Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) kicked off its BEST of Iowa program in Albia this year. But don’t let that rookie status fool you. The group knocked it out of the park, working with BEST of Iowa leaders to create a plan and complete business visits throughout the area. Dan Tometich, Executive Director for AIDC and Tod Faris, Member Services and Economic Development Manager for Chariton Valley Electric Cooperative (CVEC) joined together to complete the interviews as a joint effort.
“2020 was obviously a challenging year for everyone, especially businesses. The BEST initiative enabled AIDC and CVEC to learn directly from our local businesses what specific issues they were facing, and discuss possible solutions,” said Faris. “In a year that saw mandated closings, layoffs, remote workplaces and remote learning, we were grateful for our local employers who took time to meet with us and were encouraged by how well each business has weathered 2020 and how many are growing. We look forward to conducting similar interviews annually with our employers.” said Tometich.
For more details about the study, visit https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/best to read the full report.